A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie deals with a very complex, abstract portrait of identity. What happens when we have the option of taking over others' identities? Does our own identity remain its own unique thing, or is it flexible? Is it morally right to take over someone else's identity? And is it morally right to work as an assassin?
Positive Role Models
Even though this is a woman-led story, none of the female characters can really be considered role models. They're killers and criminals, and the main character's psyche comes unraveled as viewers watch. In one scene, a Black woman who's trying to kill herself points her gun at police; without hesitating even a second, they shoot her dead.
Violence & Scariness
Extreme violence with tons of blood. A woman shoots and stabs a man repeatedly, with massive blood spatter. Eyeballs are pried out. Guns and shooting, sometimes fatally, and sometimes involving children. Cops shoot a woman dead. Bloody bullet wounds. Stabbings. Giant photos of bloody victims. Brain splatter. Chopping off own fingers. Beating with fireplace poker. Breaking teeth. Vomiting blood. Creepy/scary stuff. Unsettling/disturbing strobe-light effects.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Graphic sex scenes include images of an erect penis and a naked woman on a bed with her legs spread. One character performs oral sex on another. Women shown topless. Side view of a man thrusting on top of a woman, his naked buttocks shown. Woman grinds on top of man. More thrusting/sex. Kissing. A woman occupying a man's body touches the body's penis. Strong sex-related dialogue.
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Uses of "f--k," "p---y," "c--k," "bitch," "jerk off."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters vape, snort cocaine, have wine with dinner, and drink socially (whiskey). A smoking pipe is shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Possessor Uncut is an intense, edgy, extremely graphic sci-fi/horror movie about a woman (Andrea Riseborough) who occupies other people's bodies to perform assassinations. The unrated uncut version (which is the one reviewed here; an R-rated cut is also available) has tons of bloody, brutal violence, including killings, stabbings, beating, gore/platter, eyeballs being pried out, fingers getting chopped off, blood vomiting, and generally creepy/scary stuff. Police shoot a Black woman fatally, and a child is shot. There's also graphic sexual content, including images of an erect penis, topless women, full-frontal male nudity, thrusting, grinding, simulated oral sex, and more. Language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "bitch." The main character "vapes" more than once, and characters snort cocaine and drink socially. A smoking pipe is shown. Some scenes include a disorienting, flashing strobe-light effect that could be difficult for those with photosensitivity. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of the legendary David, this graphic sci-fi/horror story doesn't have anything terribly unique to say, but it's certainly told in a powerfully disturbing way. Disappointingly, Possessor Uncut really doesn't go very far into exactly how its body-possessing technique actually works, and it doesn't seem very practical; it requires painful, bloody holes drilled in heads and constant adjusting to keep everything in sync. Likewise, the ultimate goal of murdering the CEO and his daughter is largely pointless compared to Tasya's bizarre, soul-threatening journey.
The younger Cronenberg sets a challenge for himself to find ways to visualize Tasya's inner torment. A powerful and timely opening sequence gets things off with a gut-punch. Possessor Uncut also uses unexpected colors and patterns throughout, disturbing make-up effects (melting flesh, etc.), and, every so often, a disorienting, flashing strobe-light effect (sensitive viewers probably shouldn't watch this). Riseborough really commits to her deeply physical, punishing performance; she's in so deep that it's possible to feel her presence even when you're watching Abbot. Veteran actor Leigh (who was also in David Cronenberg's eXistenZ) matches Riseborough, providing a bit of sinister backstory for the assassin business with nothing more than the tone of her voice.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.